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Climate
NOAA's GOES-East satellite captured this image of Hurricane Harvey in the western Gulf of Mexico on Aug. 24, 2017. NASA / NOAA

Climate Change May Be Slowing Hurricanes, Leading to More Flood-Heavy Storms Like Harvey

Two studies published within two months of each other show that typhoons and hurricanes are getting slower, and are expected to slow even more as the planet warms, suggesting that climate change is already extending the time storms spend hammering communities, National Geographic reported Wednesday.

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"While roads around our plant are impassable, our ride-out crew has two boats that could be used to carry the crew out of the site," said a spokesperson for Arkema on Aug. 29, 2017 after Hurricane Harvey. EPA

Chemical Industry Lacks Preparation for Extreme Weather, Investigation Finds

A Houston chemical plant company did not properly prepare for hurricane season, resulting in a toxic accident during Hurricane Harvey last year, federal regulators have found.

The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board on Thursday released an extensive investigation into the flooding-induced chemical fires at the Arkema plant in Crosby, Texas, finding that while the company's insurers flagged the high potential for flooding a year before Harvey, plant employees were unaware of the risk.

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Climate
The Copernicus Sentinel-3A satellite saw the temperature at the top of Hurricane Harvey on August 25, 2017. European Space Agency / CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

Record Heat Means Hurricanes Gain Ferocity Faster

By Tim Radford

Hurricanes are becoming more violent, more rapidly, than they did 30 years ago. The cause may be entirely natural, scientists say.

But Hurricane Harvey, which in 2017 assaulted the Gulf of Mexico and dumped unprecedented quantities of rain to cause devastating floods in Texas, happened because the waters of the Gulf were warmer than at any time on record. And they were warmer because of human-driven climate change, according to a second study.

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Climate
Alaska's Columbia glacier has melted away, leaving a pool of water in its wake. NASA

Trump Wants to Eliminate NASA’s Climate Research Programs: These Pictures Show What a Loss That Would Be

By Jeremy Deaton

President Trump's proposed 2019 budget would slash funding for NASA's Earth Science Division, and while his budget hasn't gained traction in Congress, it is an important statement of the administration's priorities. In a nod to his allies in the fossil fuel industry, Trump is calling for the elimination of vital programs that monitor carbon pollution and climate change.

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Health
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Air Pollution From Industrial Shutdowns and Startups a Grave Danger to Public Health

By Nikolaos Zirogiannis, Alex J. Hollingsworth and David Konisky

When Hurricane Harvey struck the Texas coast in August 2017, many industrial facilities had to shut down their operations before the storm arrived and restart once rainfall and flooding had subsided.

These shutdowns and startups, as well as accidents caused by the hurricane, led to a significant release of air pollutants. Over a period of about two weeks, data we compiled from the Texas' Air Emission Event Report Database indicates these sites released 2,000 tons of sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds and other pollutants.

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Gage Skidmore / Flickr

The Trump Effect on Climate News

By Jeremy Deaton

All press is good press—except when it isn't.

For those who are happy about President Trump's attacks on climate science and policy, this will come as bad news. By shining a spotlight on the issue, Trump drove media coverage of climate change last year.

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New Castle Causeway. PREP Community / Facebook

How One State Bridged the Cultural Divide on Climate Change

By Cameron Wake

The year 2017 painted a grim picture of coastal storms in the eastern U.S. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria were deadly and destructive harbingers of how climate change contributes to bigger storms with stronger winds, greater extreme precipitation, and higher storm surge due to rising seas.

Unfortunately, there's a long-standing cultural divide around climate change. On a political level, this has made it difficult for coastal states to act on—or even acknowledge—the growing risk of coastal flooding from climate change.

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A family near Utuado, Puerto Rico received food and water at the only room they had left after Hurricane Maria destroyed their home. U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr

Why Climate Change Is Worsening Public Health Problems

By Chelsey Kivland and Anne Sosin

Around the world, the health care debate often revolves around access.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization, recently announced, "All roads lead to universal health coverage." Discussions for how to translate this vision into a road map for action is central to the agenda of the WHO's executive board meeting this week in Geneva.

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Climate

Coastal Flooding X-Factor: Natural Climate Patterns Create Hot Spots of Rapid Sea Level Rise

By Arnoldo Valle-Levinson and Andrea Dutton

For Americans who live along the east and Gulf of Mexico coasts, the end of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season on Nov. 30 was a relief. This year forecasters recorded 17 named storms, 10 of which became hurricanes. Six were major hurricanes (Category 3 or stronger), and three made landfall: Harvey in Texas, Irma in the Caribbean and Florida, and Maria in the Caribbean and Puerto Rico. It was the most costly season ever, inflicting more than $200 billion in damages.

Many scientists have found evidence that climate change is amplifying the impacts of hurricanes. For example, several studies just published this month conclude that human-induced climate change made rainfall during Hurricane Harvey more intense. But climate change is not the only factor making hurricanes more damaging.

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